Re: New author needs help

I have just completed the first volume of my maiden work. I wonder in which way should I published this book. 

SHould i reach out for a publisher? 
Or Should i try to self-publish it? 
I wonder what is the steps for self-publishing authors? 
I would be very appreciated if someone is kind enough to show me the rope.

Re: New author needs help

There's lots of information out there on 'self publishing' 

Finding an actual publisher would mean you'd more than likely need a polished piece, a pitch and synopsis. If you wanted to try, I'd suggest twitter and pitchwars. But, tbh there's not a huge lot out there that can do more for you than you can yourself. Especially with the genres RR usually offers. 

So I'd consider the research part of putting yourself out as a self published authors one of the highest jobs on your list. 

Feel free to find me on RR's discord or all over the 'net' I'm not hard to stalk. honest. But, I am happy to help if you contact me where is easiest. 'discord' 

Good luck and start learning now, you'll not regret it. 


Re: New author needs help

Congratulations to you. It's hard work reaching the finishing line and it takes dedication to get there. You did well. Now as for your question, this can't really be answered with a one and done reply. Getting a book out there is a whole lot more work than a lot of people imagine. Here's a not quite comprehensive list of what is needed for this to happen:

  • Feedback, Beta-Readers, Drafts

  • Editing. 

  • Proofreading.

  • Layout.

  • Artwork.

  • Contracts.

  • ISBN.

  • Advertising.

  • Reviews.

  • Social Media Presence.

Now that you're looking to go commercial, there is a much bigger burden placed on your work. Things you were previously able to do for free and without a hassle, such as using a creative commons image for your cover or using certain fonts, is now a question of licenses and contracts. Everything you now do comes with one of these and navigating them can be a proper challenge, especially with the amount of predatory companies out there, ready to pounce on new authors for a quick scam. That's a whole lot of work. 

At this point, you're looking at three paths: Solo, Agent, Publisher. 
If you're self-publishing, that means you will need to take care of all these things. They get easier with time but require a lot of reading to avoid the usual pitfalls. For self-publishers, the biggest hurdle is the legal aspect and knowing when and where to invest actual money. Luckily, others have done this before you and there are blogs with personal experiences all over the internet, as well as author communities with resources. Your best bet would be to find one such community. RoyalRoad is not one of those specialized communities. 
One way or another, you can easily read up on which type of advertisement works, how you go about doing proper layout for e-books and whatever you may need. This is imperative: Unless you hate your money, look up every step of the way. When you're self-publishing, you will also need a platform of course. Some of these platforms will guide you. Amazon for example won't let you proceed unless you've got an ISBN setup and will point you in the right direction. They also have a lot of resources that can help out a new self-publisher. It's in their interest to get you started - it's also in their interest to lock you into their ecosystem, so keep that in mind.

The other two options are publishers and agents. As much as there is this romantic ideal of sending your beautiful manuscript to a publisher, the publishing business doesn't work like this anymore. Big publishers will usually just delete your work on sight, often not even bothering with a reply. Sorry. You might have more luck with indie publishers but even they are absolutely swamped with manuscripts and may take months to years to even reply. Maybe you're lucky, who knows. 

Many authors nowadays employ an agent or an agency. These will pick up your manuscript, if they think it's got a chance and then search a fitting publisher for you. They've got the contacts you lack and get into doors that are locked to outsiders. Professional agencies will usually do a round of in-house editing and proofreading too. Alas, this costs money. The way this usually works is via a percentage cut of your sales. Be very wary of up-front payment demands (and do research).

Now whether you want to sent your manuscript to publishers or agents, there are certain expectations to be met - although the process is pretty similar for you. First, setup your manuscript in a standard page format. Depending on where you live, these vary slightly but as a rule of thumb you're looking at 30 lines with 60 strikes, averaging to about 1.800 characters per page with zero fancy layouting. 
The standard page comes from the time of typewritters and is really just a bit of a fossil from the days of old but you'd be surprised how many still insist this to be used. If anything, doing this shows you know your stuff. Now, whether it be publisher or agent, they have specific requirements for sending in your work. Usually, they want a short synopsis and an excerpt of usually thirty pages from the beginning of the book. More modern ones will list the amount of characters instead. Don't send your entire manuscript unless asked. Don't give away your power. The synopsis is usually 2-4 pages at most. Less is more here, if you can't condense your main characters and plot to 2 pages, your book might be seen as rambling and lacking structure. 

The way this usually works is like this. An author has finished their book, done some first editing with the help of family/friends and proofread it. They now search for either publisher or agency and navigate towards the manuscript page. These usually tell them what they're looking for - the author contacts them with a synopsis and excerpt of the specified length (or stick to 2 page synopsis, 30 page excerpt if no specification). If you're lucky, you get a confirmation that they've received it. Now the process can take many months before you hear back. At which point it's either: No interest or please send us the manuscript. Usually it's no answer at all. Don't just bet on one horse. Once they pick your manuscript, everything will be taken care off and you'll be involved in the process. 

Let me be blunt here: Publishers work based on target audiences. They've got rigid expectations and are naturally risk averse. Some indie publishers are more open to things but will still follow books that make them money. You might have written a truly amazing story - but will it fit target audiences? Can it be boiled down to "Target demography: Female, 14-19"? The authors most successful with publishers learned to explicitly write for these sought after demographies. If you can sell your book to them as this amazing piece for audience xyz, your chances increase. The brutal reality of the business is that many self-publishers started out on a search for a publisher and have gotten rejected so much, that they took things into their own hands. Their stories don't lack quality, they just don't fit the traditional (normative) publishing mould. 

Here's my recommendation for you:
Whether you go the publisher or self-publisher route, certain steps you want to make either way. First, do a proper round of drafting, editing and proofreading. Do note that the latter two are not one and the same. Editing is the process of finding logic problems in your story and having someone point out how you can construct a better narrative. Proofreading is… building thick fortress walls to fend off the angry hatemob at your doors. Golly do folks get angry at typos. Moving on, setting your book up in a standard page is helpful to either form of publishing as well. A standard page is free of fancy layouting. Simple pages can also be much more easily converted into e-book formats. Keep in mind, the more fancy layout you use, the more you're going to collide with the hundreds of reader-machines out there. They look at the e-book formats and take it as suggestion, instead of a standard. 

Now as for the cover, here comes the first major difference as it involves your first license/contract. If you go publisher, it's their business. If you go do it yourself, it's your business. Either way, here's what you can do. With your manuscript in the state it is - standard page, proofred, edited - send out a synopsis and excerpt to agencies, see what happens. In the meantime, read up on self-publishing and if you haven't heard anything in six months or more, you go the self-publishing route. Usually, agencies are much quicker with their response than publishers. They can gauge pretty well by your synopsis and excerpt whether it's something worth following. If your writing knocks them out, they'll be there lightning quick, asking for the rest. 
You can further improve your chances by picking the right targets. Do you write queer literature? Hit up the agencies with queer leaning. You write crime-scene stuff? Pick the right agent for your work. You can further improve it by being able to name your target audience. 

Either way, whether you're now self-publishing or traditionally publishing, some things never change and that's the expectation that you, as the author, have to do advertising too. Public readings and having a way to contact you online (twitter, blogs, etc) tend to be expected. Reaching out to reviewers is done by the agent/publisher -unless you're alone. In which case: Be courteous, friendly and patient. And if any of them demand money from you for the review, tell them to go visit antarctica (remember what I told you about predatory businesses). 

Also, stay away from publishers that demand money upfront. They're scum. Note, this does not apply to print on demand services. There are however publishers that woo authors, promise them great success - and then demand money to pick them up. That's not how this works. You don't pay your employer. 

Well and once you've been published once, the whole game changes anyway. In the future you'll either have contacts in the business - maintain them! Or your book has solid hard numbers to it. Next time you hit up an agent, you can tell them "My book POWERBURNER CASSIOPEIA has sold ten thousand copies all on my own. Imagine what we can do if we work together?!".

Right, that's it for now. 
Try to get an agent publisher - while working on your self-publishing angle. Either you get picked up - woohoo, or you do it yourself. Both ways, the knowledge you gain from reading up on self-publishing helps you in negotiating contracts and having a better idea what goes into making a book. There are other ways too: Competitions, talking to people during trade shows, going the social route - this can work too. 

Re: New author needs help

I'm very thankful for the replies. The nature of my maiden work was in a way very "delicate" that i'm not surprise if most people were offended by it.

It dealt with touchy subjects and most topics that the media of any society would frown upon.This thing is like my one man riot against the bizzareness of our world. So at sometimes, while writing this, i was under no illusion that i could find a publisher who is willing to help me publishing this work. 
I'm very glad i have received such in depth answer. I will focus on selfpublishing this work. Thank you